David Lee Roth is a legend. He's one of the greatest lead singers of all time, for one of the greatest rock bands of all time: Van Halen. Diamond Dave led VH from its initial success in 1978 through the coked-out, Spandex days of the 1980s, fronting the band 11 years and running with the devil every single day. A consummate rock star, Dave's over-the-top persona and insane stage antics often overshadowed the genius of the band's music, which more or less conjured the entire genre of hair metal from thin air. David Lee Roth and Van Halen had quite a run together, as these crazy David Lee Roth stories attest.
Though you may know Diamond Dave most as the inspiration for Dr. Rockzo, or as a man who would certainly win the gold in skiing the powdery slopes of Blow Town, he's also the New York Times best-selling author of Crazy From the Heat (his autobiography). And, in case you forgot, he had a successful solo career for a few years after leaving Van Halen, during which he indulged his Diamond Dave tendencies to the extreme, living as a bonafide fornication machine always ready to party. Even in his 60s, he's the life of the party: "I used to jog but the ice cubes kept coming out of my glass."
The list of crazy stories and wild facts about David Lee Roth is almost never-ending. He joined Van Halen, then known as Mammoth, at 20, in 1974; developed a deep rivalry with Sammy Hagar, who replaced him in the band in 1985; and found a late-life new career in new media, as a podcast host. David Lee Roth has been entertaining audiences for decades, and this list is here so you can revel in the lewdness of the craziest moments from Diamond Dave's life.
Anyone who's ever listened to even 30 seconds of vintage Van Halen knows Diamond Dave had an appetite for lust bordering on the obscene. The man was hot for teacher, had a highly organized system for selecting groupies, and penned the lyrics to "Dirty Movies."
When it came time to have his mic stand polished by adoring fans, Dave liked to have a wide selection of women from which to choose. He created "Diamond Dave's Bonus Program" to incentivize members of the Van Halen road crew he roped into corralling his nightly cabal of willing disciples. Each member of the crew was given five backstage passes to distribute during every show. Whomever handed out the pass to someone he slept with was awarded $100.
The program was so popular, it increased crew efficiency, cutting the time it took to tear down at the end of the night in half.
MTV VJ Mark Goodman got to know David Lee Roth well in the 1980s, when Van Halen was one of the most popular groups in the country and had a strong relationship with the music network. According to Goodman, Diamond Dave developed a highly organized system for hook-ups.
As Goodman explained:
When Dave was touring, both with Van Halen and solo, he had the barriers in front of the stage painted different colors on the side that faced him: red, blue, and green, to denote the different areas of the audience. He’d look for hot girls in the crowd, and between songs, go to his assistant Eddie on the side of the stage, and say, "Green, right, fourteen rows back, three seats in." The assistant would go out into the audience and stick a pass on her (breasts). So after the show, there’d be twenty-five girls in the dressing room who all thought they’d been singled out to be with Dave that night. In fact, a number of them would be. The others would end up with other band members — or, if necessary, the crew.
It's unclear whether this system tied into Diamond Dave's Bonus Program.
In 2013, a short film called Tokyo Story appeared on David Lee Roth's YouTube channel. It was described at first as a trailer (the description was later changed), and was written by Roth and co-directed by award-winning Japanese filmmaker Kentaro Hagiwara.
Roth plays a hitman in the short, which all takes place in a common area at a bath house. Tokyo Story is obviously indebted to classic nihilistic yakuza and samurai films from the '60s and '70s, though is tonally more similar to the original Zatoichi series or the work of Takashi Miike, in its brazen satire and weirdness.
Around the time the clip was released, Roth had been spotted frequently around Tokyo, and admitted to having a relationship with a Japanese woman half his age. He was also training in various martial arts, including kendo.
Diamond Dave says really awesome stuff. Which you would probably assume, if you've ever paid attention to the lyrics he wrote for Van Halen. Much like Matt Bellamy of Muse, Roth has an expert ability to live on the line between self-satire and true, absurd indulgence.
In one of his most outlandish claims, he asserted, "My personal record is five [ladies] at once."